Forever and the Night

Forever and the Night

by Linda Lael Miller

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Overview

A whistleblower finds refuge—and passion—in the arms of a wealthy vampire in this erotic romance from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author.
 
Neely Wallace has a target on her back. She’s uncovered evidence that her boss, a powerful US senator, is involved in mob and drug activity. Now she’s hiding out with family in New England. But while she’s out trick-or-treating with her nephew, Neely knocks on the door of a nearby mansion, and fate—in the form of charming and reclusive Aidan Tremayne—answers the door.
 
Aidan has a secret he’s been hiding for centuries: He’s a vampire who yearns for the time when he can walk in light of day and return to the land of the living. When Aidan meets the beautiful, funny, intelligent, human stranger, suddenly his longing has a name: Neely Wallace.
 
Aidan will do anything to keep Neely safe. But when faced with the choice of either condemning her to his immortal fate, or forsaking his vampire family, Aidan must walk the line between the living and the dead, the mortal and immortal, to uncover his true destiny.
 
Forever and the Night is the first book in the Black Rose Chronicles series from #1 New York Times– and USA Today–bestselling author Linda Lael Miller.
 
“Miller creates characters I defy you to forget.” —Debbie Macomber
 
“Exotic, lush, sensual, and exciting . . . Miller has created a fascinating, fabulous world populated by mortals and fiends who are all too human. I loved it.” —Jayne Ann Krentz

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780795346972
Publisher: RosettaBooks
Publication date: 10/05/2015
Series: The Black Rose Chronicles , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 507
Sales rank: 136,299
File size: 655 KB

About the Author

"Linda Lael Miller is a bestselling American author of more than 100 contemporary, Western, supernatural, and historical romance novels. Born Linda Lael in 1949 in the state of Washington Miller cites a combination of her love of reading, an encouraging English teacher, and the tales an elderly neighbor used to tell about meeting outlaw Jesse James and witnessing gunfights as inspirations to begin writing at a young age. After graduating high school she went on to travel, living in Italy and London before settling down in Arizona. After five years, Miller returned to her roots—a horse property outside of Spokane. Miller’s longtime devotion to her craft has not gone unnoticed by her readers, nor by the wider literary community—she has won a Silver Pen Award, the Romantic Times award for Most Sensual Historical Romance, and the Romance Writers of America’s Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller has also been nominated six times for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award, the highest honor given to a romance author. She financed fifteen years of the Linda Lael Miller Scholarships for Women, which was awarded to women aged 25 and older seeking to improve their lives through education. Called the “First Lady of the West” for her prolific and much-loved work in the Western genre, Miller was also writing paranormal romance before it swept its way across the literary landscape post-Twilight—starting in 1993, to be exact. The ageless and ever-alluring tale of vampires and the humans who love them comes (back) to life through Miller’s Black Rose Trilogy, which includes the titles Forever and the Night, For All Eternity, Time Without End, and Tonight and Always."

Date of Birth:

June 10, 1949

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

That year, on the afternoon of Halloween, great glistening snowflakes began tumbling from a glowering sky, catching the maples and oaks by surprise in their gold and crimson housecoats, trimming fences and lampposts, roofs and windowsills, in shimmering, exquisite lace.

Aidan Tremayne awakened at sunset, as he'd done every day for more than two centuries, and felt a strange quickening in his spirit as he left the secret place in the woods. He allowed himself a wistful smile as he surveyed the snowy landscape, for he sensed the excitement of the town's children; it was like silent laughter, riding the wind.

All Hallows' Eve, he thought. How fitting.

He shook off the bittersweet sadness that had possessed him from the moment he'd opened his eyes and walked on toward the great stone house hidden in the stillness of its surroundings. There were birch trees among the others, gray-white sketches against the pristine snow, and a young deer watched him warily from the far side of a small mill pond.

Aidan paused, his eyes adjusting to the dusk, all his senses fluttering to life within him, and still the little doe returned his gaze, as though caught in the glow of headlights on some dark and forgotten road. He had only to summon the creature, and she would come to him.

He was hungry, having gone three days without feeding, but he had no taste for the blood of innocents, be they animal or human. Besides, the life force of lesser creatures provided substandard nourishment. Go, he told the deer, in the silent language he had become so proficient at over the years. This is no place for you, no time to be abroad in the night.

The deer listened with that intentness so typical of wild creatures, white ears perked as fat flakes of snow continued to fall, as if to hide all traces of evil beneath a mantle of perfect white. Then the creature turned and scampered into the woods.

Aidan allowed himself another smile — it was Halloween, after all, and he supposed the occasion ought to have some celebratory meaning to a vampire — and walked on toward the house. Beyond, at the end of a long gravel driveway, lay Route 7, the first hint of civilization. The small Connecticut town of Bright River needed four and a half miles to the north.

It was the kind of place where church bells rang on Sunday mornings. Local political issues were hotly debated, and freight trains came through late at night, the mournful cry of the engineer's whistle filling the valley. The children at the elementary school made decorations colored in crayon, pumpkins or Pilgrims or Santa Clauses, depending on the season, and taped them to the windows of their classrooms. Aidan still smiled as he mounted the slippery steps at the back of the house and entered the mudroom. He stomped the snow from his booted feet just as a mortal man might have done, but he did not reach for the light switch as he entered the kitchen. His vision was keenest in the dark, and his ears were so sharp that neither cacophony nor silence could veil the essence of reality from him.

Usually.

He paused just over the threshold, focusing his awareness, and knew in the space of a moment that he was indeed alone in the gracious, shadowy house. This realization was both a relief — for he had powerful and very treacherous enemies — and a painful reminder that he was condemned to an eternity of seclusion. That was the worst part of being the monster he was, the wild, howling loneliness, the rootless wandering over the face of the earth, like a modern-day Cain.

Except for the brief, horrified comprehension of his victims, flaring in the moment before their final heartbeat, Aidan knew no human contact, for he consorted only with other vampires. He took little comfort from the company of his fellows — except for Maeve, his twin, whom he loved without reservation — for they were abominations, like himself. As a rule, vampires were amoral beings, untroubled by conscience or a need for the fellowship of others.

Aidan sighed as he passed silently through the house, shoving splayed fingers into dark, unruly hair. The yearning to live and love as an ordinary man had never left him, even though older and wiser vampires had promised it would. Some remnant of humanity lingered to give unrelenting torment.

He had not known peace of mind or spirit since the night she — Lisette — had changed him forever. Indeed, he supposed his unrest had begun even before that, when their gullible and superstitious mortal mother had taken him and Maeve to a gypsy camp, as very small children, to have their fortunes told.

The old woman — even after more than two hundred years, Aidan still remembered the horror of looking into her wrinkled and shrewd face — had taken his hand and Maeve's into her own. She'd held them close together, palms upward, peering deep, as if she could see through the tender flesh and muscle to some great mystery beneath. Then, just as suddenly, she'd drawn back, as though seared.

"Cursed," she'd whispered. "Cursed for all of eternity, and beyond."

The crone had turned ageless eyes — how strange they'd seemed, in that wizened visage — on Aidan, though her words had been addressed to his now-tearful mother. "A woman will come to him — do not seek her out, for she is not yet born — and she will be his salvation or his damnation, according to the choices they make."

The ancient one had given each of the twins a golden pendant on a chain, supposedly to ward off evil, but it had been plain, even to a child, that she had little faith in talismans.

The chiming of the doorbell wrenched Aidan forward from that vanished time, and he found himself in mid-pace.

He became a shadow among shadows, there in the yawning parlor. Cold sickness clasped at his insides, even though they had long since turned to stone. Someone had ventured within his range, and he had not sensed the person's approach.

The bell sounded again. Aidan dragged one sleeve across his forehead. His skin was dry, but the sweat he'd imagined had seemed as real as that of a mortal man.

"Maybe nobody lives here," a woman's voice said.

Aidan had regained his composure somewhat, and he moved to the front window with no more effort than a thought. He might have come as easily from his hiding place to the house, except that he liked to pretend he had human limitations sometimes, and remember how it felt to have breath and a heartbeat.

He made no effort to hide himself behind the lace curtain, for the woman and child standing on the porch would not see him — not consciously, that is. Their deeper minds would register his presence and probably produce a few spooky dreams in an effort to assimilate him.

The child, a boy no older than six or seven, was wearing a flowing black cape and wax fangs, and he gripped a plastic pumpkin in one hand. His companion, clad in blue jeans, a sweater, and a worn-out cloth coat, was gamine-like, with short brown hair and large, dark eyes. Their conversation went on, ordinary and sweet as music, and Aidan took the words inside himself, to be played over and over again later, like a phonograph record.

Perhaps the other side of him, the beast, willed solidity and substance to his body and made him open the door.

"Trick or treat," the small vampire said, holding up the grinning pumpkin. In his other hand he held a flashlight.

The woman and child glowed like angels in the wintry darkness, beautiful in their bright innocence, but Aidan was aware of the heat and warmth pulsing through them, too. The need for blood made him sway slightly and lean against the doorjamb.

That was when the woman touched him, and parts of her past flashed through his mind like a movie. He saw that she liked to wear woolen socks to bed, that she was hiding from someone she both cared for and feared, that despite her close relationship with the child, she was as lonely as Aidan himself.

All in all, she was delightfully mortal, a tangle of good and not- so-good traits, someone who had known the full range of sadness and joy in her relatively brief existence.

Aidan felt a wicked wrench, in the darkest reaches of his accursed soul, a sensation he had not known before, in life or in death. It was both pain and pleasure, that feeling, and the possible significance of it dizzied him.

Why had he recalled the words of the gypsy, spoken so long ago, words tucked away in a child's mind and forgotten five minutes after they were offered, now, on this night?

A woman will come to him ... she will be his salvation or his damnation ...

No, he decided firmly. Even given all he knew of the world, and of creation, it was too fanciful a theory to accept. This was not the one who would save or damn him; such a creature probably did not even exist.

Still, the gypsy's prediction had been otherwise correct. He and Maeve had both been cursed, as surely as the rebellious angels had been, those banished from heaven so many eons before, following the legendary battle between Lucifer and the archangel, Michael.

"Are you all right?" the woman asked, pulling him sharply back from his musings. "You look a little pale."

Aidan might have laughed, so ludicrously accurate was her remark, but he didn't dare risk losing control. He was ravenous, and the woman and child standing before him could have no way of knowing what sort of monster they were facing all alone, there in those whispering woods.

Their blood would be the sweetest of nectars, made vital by its very purity, and to take it from them would be a bliss so profound as to sustain him for many, many nights. ...

The soft concern in the visitor's manner was nearly Aidan's undoing, for he could not even recall the last time a woman had spoken to him with tenderness. He drew in a deep breath, even though he had no need for air, and let it out slowly, holding the inward demons in check with his last straining shreds of strength. "Yes," he said, somewhat tersely. "I've been — ill."

"If you don't have any candy, it's okay," the child put in with quick charity. "Aunt Neely won't let me eat anything I get from strangers anyhow."

Aidan was almost deafened by a rushing sound stemming from some wounded and heretofore abandoned place in his spirit. Neely. He made note of the woman's name — it was a detail that had seemed unimportant, in the face of the devastating affect she'd had upon him — and it played in his soul like music. His control was weakening with every passing moment; he had to flee the pair before he broke his own all-but-inviable rule and ravaged them both.

Still, he was so shaken, so captivated by this unexpected mortal woman, that movement was temporarily beyond his power.

"I have something better than candy," he heard himself say, after a desperate inner struggle. He made himself move, took a coin from the ancient cherry-wood box on the hallway table and dropped it into the plastic pumpkin the little boy held out to him. "Happy Halloween."

Neely's brown eyes linked with Aidan's, and she smiled. He watched the pulse throb at the base of her right ear, imagined the vitality he could draw from her, the sheer, glorious life. The mere thought of it made him want to weep. He did not risk speaking again.

"Thank you," she said, turning to start down the porch steps.

The small vampire lingered on the doormat. "My name's Danny. We're practically your neighbors," he said. "We live at the Lakeview Trailer Court and Motel, on Route Seven. My dad is the caretaker there, and Aunt Neely cleans rooms and waits tables in the truck stop."

The blush that rose in the woman's cheeks only made Aidan's deadly hunger more intense. Just when he would have lunged at her, he thrust the door closed and willed himself away quickly — far away, to another time and another place, where he could stalk without compunction.

Aidan chose one of his favorite hunting grounds, a miserable section of nineteenth-century London known as Whitechapel. There, in the dark, narrow, stinking streets, he might select his prey not from the prostitutes, or the pickpockets and burglars, but from procurers, white slavers, and men who made their living in the opium trade. Occasionally he indulged a taste for a mean drunk, a wife-beater, or a rapist; circumstances determined whether his victims saw his face and read their fate there or simply perished between one breath and the next. He did not actually kill the majority of his victims, however, and he had never made vampires of his prey, even though he knew the trick of it only too well. It was all a matter of degree.

He kept a room over a back-alley tavern, and that was where he materialized on that particular night. Quickly he exchanged his plain clothes for an elegant evening suit and a beaver top hat. To this ensemble he added a black silk cape lined with red, as a private joke.

A cloying, yellow-white fog enveloped the city, swirling about the lampposts and softening the sounds of cartwheels jostling over cobblestones, of revelry in the taverns and whoring in the alleys. Somewhere a woman screamed, a high-pitched, keening sound, but Aidan paid no attention, and neither did any of the other shadowy creatures who haunted the night.

He'd walked only a short way when he came upon a fancy carriage stopped at the curb. A small man, clad in a bundle of rags and filthy beyond all bearing, was pressing a half-starved child toward the vehicle's open door.

Inside, Aidan glimpsed a younger man, outfitted in clothes even more finely tailored than his own, counting out coins into a white, uncalloused palm.

"I won't do it, do you 'ear me!" the little one cried, with unusual spirit for such a time and place. Although Aidan sensed that the small entity was female, there was nothing about her scrawny frame to indicate the fact. She couldn't have been older than eight or ten. "I won't let some bastard from Knightsbridge bugger me for a shilling!"

Aidan closed his eyes for a moment, filled with disgust, vividly recalling the human sensation of bile bubbling into the back of his throat in a scalding rush. After all the time that had passed since his making, it still came as a shock to him to realize that vampires and werewolves and warlocks weren't the only fiends abroad in the world.

"Get'n the carriage and tend to your business!" shouted the rag-man, cuffing the child hard between her thin shoulders. "I'll not stand 'ere and argue with the likes of you all night, Shallie Biffle!"

Aidan stepped forward, deliberately opening himself to their awareness. Closing one hand over the back of the ragman's neck, instantly paralyzing the wretched little rodent, he spoke politely to the urchin still standing on the sidewalk.

"This man" — he nodded toward his bug-eyed, apoplectic captive — "is he your father?"

"'ell, no," spat Shallie. "'e's just a dirty flesh-peddler, that's all. I ain't got no father or mother — if I did, would I be 'ere?"

Aidan produced a five-pound note, using that special vampire sleight of hand too rapid for the human eye to catch. "There is a woman in the West End who'll look after you," he said. "Go to her now."

He put the street name and number into the child's mind without speaking again, and she scrambled off into the shifting murk, clutching the note she'd snatched from his fingers a second after its appearance.

The horses pulling the carriage grew restless, but the dandy and his driver sat obediently, bemused, as helpless in their own way as the rag-man.

Aidan lifted the scrap of filth by the scruff of his neck and allowed him to see his fierce vampire teeth. It would have been the purest pleasure to tear open that particular jugular vein, to drain the blood and toss away the husk like a handful of nutshells, but he had settled on even viler prey — the wealthy pervert who had ventured into Whitechapel to buy the virtue of a child.

He flung the procurer aside, heard the flesh-muffled sound of a skeleton splintering against the soot-stained wall of a brick building. Fancy that, Aidan thought to himself with a regretful smile.

He climbed easily into the leather-upholstered interior of the carriage, and there he settled himself across from his intended victim. With a thought, he broke the wicked enchantment that had held both the driver and his master in stricken silence.

"Tell the man to take you home," Aidan said companion-ably enough, examining his gloves to make sure he hadn't smudged them while handling the rag-man's dirty person.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Forever and the Night"
by .
Copyright © 1993 Linda Lael Miller.
Excerpted by permission of RosettaBooks.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Forever and the Night 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 66 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book over and over since I purchased it years ago. It is amazing! There is this love between Neely and Aidian that will haunt you long after you put this book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is fantastic. It goes beyond mere romance. She takes you to a world that actually makes you wonder if this world truely exists as she says it does. The whole series is facinating but this book, the one that started it all, is the best. I have bought this book three times so far because I keep loaning it out and not getting it back. It is just that good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book. I can't wait until I can get the other three books on Nook. I haven't been able to find the actual books either but I can't wait to read them. Definitely recommend you read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it years ago. Saved my ratty old copies of the whole series for years. Love that i can get them on my nook. Enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put this series down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading Forever and the Night. I was in between books at the time. The only real problem I had with the book was how 'weak' the author made vampires. I guess I'm used to the Strong, Unable to Die vampires in recent novels. There were A LOT of misspellings that was distracting while reading but all in all it was a good quick read, not spectacular but good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this series so much. Was hooked from the start. I wished she would have continued after the fourth book. This was the vampire love story I was obsessed with before twilight..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it when first came out. Where are the rest?.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are at least two more in the series. Hope to see the rest!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book years ago and am over-joyed to discover it again! I hope that they're going to republish the rest of the series!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once I picked up the book, I simply couldn't put it down and no one could get me to do something until I finished reading the book (which I finished in 2 days). If you haven't read it, then you are missing a great story.
TheBooknerd on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rather like a vampiric soap opera, this. It wasn't awful, but there were a few times when I couldn't help but roll my eyes. The greater crime is that this book just wasn't very interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Kellykos More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!! I read this book in 3 days and loved everything about it! Highly recommend it. Such a great story and loved the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really liked this book it was good with a nice plot line without SO many twists!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She started my love of vampires with this book. I have read all books in the series and love all of them. But this one has always been my fave. I think I have read it 5 times now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DebbiNC More than 1 year ago
First read this series about 15 years ago when they first came out and have read them over and over since then. I liked the stories in each of them and the way the story line continued through all 4 books. First and best vampire books I have ever read! I would highly recommend these books and any book written by this author - she is always a good read!!
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eternity More than 1 year ago
I liked this book and it had so much potential, however I did not care for the ending. It is worth the read but not the best book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago